Achieve compliance with certified Software Testing and Static Analysis

The DO-178 ‘Software Consideration in Airborne Systems & Equipment Certification’ standards are published by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA). Since RTCA is not an official governmental agency, its recommendations may not be regarded as statements of official government policy unless so enunciated by a given government organization or agency having statutory jurisdiction over any matters to which the recommendations relate. In practice all governments and agencies have given approval for these standards for civil aviation.

The DO-178B and DO-178C standards are also published by the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) as ED-12B and ED-12C respectively. The standards are identical in content and are hereafter only referred to using the DO-178 references.

DO-178B was published in 1992 and was superseded in 2011 by DO-178C, together with an additional standard DO-330 Software Tool Qualification Considerations.

The DO-178 standards requires that all airborne software is assigned a Design Assurance Level (DAL) according to the effects of a failure condition in the system. These levels range from the lowest E ‘No Effect’ to the highest A ‘Catastrophic’. The standards document a number of process objectives which vary according to the software level.

Testing tools for compliance with DO-178B and DO-178C objectives

QA Systems enables organisations to accelerate achieving DO-178B and DO-178C testing objectives with automated static analysis and software testing tools:



Automated analysis synchronised with Cantata


Understand, define and control software architecture


Automated source code metrics for C/C++



Automated unit and integration testing for C/C++ code


Test status management dashboard add-on


Automated unit and integration testing for Ada code

Tool qualification

The DO-178 standards do not permit pre-certification of tools (such as the standards for which Cantata is certified by SGS-TÜV). On each project a DO-178 certification applicant must qualify the tools to be used on that particular project. QA Systems Dynamic and Static Analysis tools are categorized as DO-178 software verification tools.

The tool qualification process differs somewhat between DO-178B, and DO-178C (and its referenced standard DO-330 Software Tool Qualification Considerations).

Tool qualification kits for DO-178B and DO-178C are available to ease our customers’ path to certification. These kits provide the necessary qualification data and evidence required for qualification of Cantata for Software Levels E to A, together with guidance on the tool qualification process.

Please contact us for more information about tool qualification kits.

Verification for DO-178 compliance

DO-178 recommends low-level [unit] tests, Software Integration Tests and Hardware-Software Integration tests. Cantata enables developers to verify DO-178 compliant C and C++ code on host native and embedded target platforms.

Cantata helps accelerate compliance with the standard’s verification requirements by automating:

  • Test framework generation
  • Test case generation
  • Test execution
  • Results diagnostics and report generation

Our DO-178B and DO-178C Standard Briefings trace the verification objectives DO-178B and DO-178C, identifying the scope of those which are supported by Cantata and how the objectives are supported by Cantata.

Please contact us for more information on Cantata for DO-178B or DO-178C.

The DO-178C verification objectives by Level and where these are supported by Cantata are summarised in the tables below:

DO-178C Table A.6 Testing Outputs of Integration Process

1: Executable Object code complies with high level requirementsSSSSYes
2: Executable Object Code is robust with high-level requirementsSSSSYes
3: Executable Object code complies with low level requirements SI SIS Yes
4: Executable Object code complies with low level requirementsSISS Yes
5: Executable Object Code is compatible with the target computerSSSSYes

DO-178C Table A.7 Verification of the Verification Process Results

1: Test procedures are correct SI S S Yes
2: Test Results are correct and discrepancies explainedSI S S Yes
3: Test coverage of high level requirements is achieved SI SSSYes
4: Test coverage of low level requirements is achievedSISS Yes
5: Test coverage of software structure (modified condition/decision) SI   Yes
6: Test coverage of software structure (decision coverage)SIS  Yes
7: Test coverage of software structure (statement coverage)SISS Yes
8: Test coverage of software structure (data & control coupling)SISS Yes
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The objective should be satisfied with independence SI
The objective should be satisfiedS

Static Analysis for DO-178 compliance

DO-178 objectives include assessment that Source Code is accurate, consistent and conforms to a coding standard. Static Analysis tools can dramatically reduce the manual effort in producing certification evidence to satisfy these objectives.

The DO-178C Source Code analysis in Table A.5 are summarized in the table below:

DO-178C Table A.5 Verification if Outputs of Software Coding & Integration Processes

1. Source Code complies with low level requirementsSISIS
2. Source Code complies with software architectureSISS
3. Source Code is verifiableSS
4. Source Code conforms to standardsSSS 
5. Source Code is traceable to low-level requirementsSSS
6. Source Code is accurate and consistentSISS
7. Output of software integration process is complete and correctSSS
8. Parameter Data Item File is correct and completeSISISS
9. Verification of Parameter Data Item File is achievedSISIS
The objective should be satisfied with independence SI
The objective should be satisfiedS